Towards Decolonisation: Political, Labour and Economic Developments in Jamaica, 1938-1945

Towards Decolonisation: Political, Labour and Economic Developments in Jamaica, 1938-1945

Towards Decolonisation: Political, Labour and Economic Developments in Jamaica, 1938-1945

Towards Decolonisation: Political, Labour and Economic Developments in Jamaica, 1938-1945

Excerpt

This book is intended to be a sort of sequel to my book Rise and Organise, in which the story is told of the birth of the modern trade union and nationalist movements during the formative years 1936 through 1939. Taking the story onwards to 1944-1945, when for the first time the people of Jamaica were represented by a legislature elected on the basis of full adult suffrage and their representatives had begun to participate in executive government, I have nevertheless found it necessary to retrace some of the ground covered in that earlier work, referring again to some of the events which occurred in 1938.

The following notes on the backgrounds of the principal pioneers in the development of the trade union and political movements in the late 1930s may provide a useful introduction to their participation in and contributions to these events:

Alan George St Claver Coombs (1901-1969) was born in the parish of St Ann. A tall, powerfully built man, he had been a policeman from 1919 until 1922. His departure from the Police Force was said to have been a consequence of his defiance of a white officer whom he had bested when they came to blows. Thereafter he became a soldier in the West India Regiment, leaving the army in 1926 or 1927 with the rank of Corporal or Lance Corporal. In a letter to a local newspaper he described himself as "a peasant of low birth, very limited education and a very poor man."

In 1936, with the assistance of Hugh Clifford Buchanan and others, he formed and became the president of the Jamaica Workers and Tradesmen's Union (JWTU).

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